The Null Device


Gallery of the Forbidden, a list of albums, songs or cover art banned, restricted or bowdlerised by the Moral Minority or (more frequently) recording-company marketroids; from the Five Keys' misplaced thumb to that un-American Strokes song that got deleted from US releases of their album.

The MetaFilter discussion of this issue had an interesting tangent about a legendary Hungarian song which was allegedly suppressed after it triggered an epidemic of suicides:

"Gloomy Sunday", a Hungarian song for the violin, was believed to propel the despondent into suicide. Ironically, the title "Gloomy Sunday" has been used over and over since, for different songs unrelated to the original, which makes trying to find it even more difficult.

Snopes has this to say about Gloomy Sunday; apparently it did exist, though the suppression of it was an urban legend. And here's another story which ties it to a Nazi SS officer's suicide during the Holocaust.

I wonder whether the music for Gloomy Sunday exists anywhere; and, if so, how long until some post-rock band or other does a cover of it.

censorship gloomy sunday music suicide urban legends 7

Former Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell has condemned a reality TV show based on selecting potential MPs. Campbell has denounced ITV's "Vote For Me" series (or "Political Idol", as some call it), in which an "independent" political candidate is selected and groomed from a field of contestants, as exploiting youth cynicism and undermining the importance of politics. Which is all a bit rich, coming from the architect of Cool Britannia and Teflon Tony's image-conscious, style-over-substance media strategy.

alastair campbell cool britannia hypocrisy reality tv spin thatcherism-blairism 0

Those bad-ass jock bullies of internet humour, Something Awful, have a new temporary front page which takes the piss out of coolsie/hipster music-news site Pitchfork.

parody pitchfork something awful 1

The street finds its own uses for things. In England, where finding new ways to have anonymous sex with strangers seems to be somewhat of a national pastime, almost up there with trainspotting, football hooliganism and doing stuff in sheds, a new, tech-savvy, subculture of sex hounds is using Bluetooth phones to hook up.

bluetooth gibson's law mobile phones uk 0

This evening, I rented and watched the following two DVDs:

  • Max: the 2002 Canadian/Hungarian/British production about a young Adolf Hitler's relationship with a (fictional) cosmopolitan Jewish art dealer in Munich, immediately after World War 1. Hitler was played by Noah Taylor, who looked like a leaner version of the housemate he played in He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, or possibly like the frontman of an Australian indie-rock band; he put in a decent performance, playing the young Hitler as a bitterly angry monomaniac torn between the world of art (in which he wasn't much of a success, partly due to his disdain for modern art trends and/or general crackedness; this was before outsider art came into vogue, of course) and fringe politics.
  • American Splendor: a film about underground comic writer Harvey Pekar; he is portrayed here as a pudgy, generally grubby-looking loser with a dead-end job, severely limited horizons and a generally shitty outlook on life, which has lasted him from childhood. Pekar starts writing a comicbook series based on the minutiae of his life, and gradually gets a cult following. I imagine that, were he doing this 25 years later, he'd probably have started a weblog instead.

The night before, I watched Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (which was amusing; it took the memoirs of a delusional former TV personality and used them as a vehicle for clever-dick scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman to play with the ways that being a 1960s game-show host and CIA assassin could interact).

film harvey pekar hitler 3